Anglo Tapes

Thursday 24 July 2014

Bankers simply toyed with our leaders

Emails are frightening because they reveal a political class that did not have a clue what to do, writes Tom Lyons

Tom Lyons

Published 21/07/2013|04:00

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An email from AIB's Matt Moran to Anglo Irish Bank's David Drumm.

THE 'Enda K' and 'Bev' emails reveal just how out of their depth Ireland's politicians were during the financial crisis.

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They simply did not have a clue about what was going on as the bankers ran rings around them.

Both sets of emails paint a picture of politicians who clearly do not have a grasp of the problem.

In a recent Dail speech, Enda Kenny came across as a man more concerned with a political show trial than what the public deserve: the unvarnished truth.

His claim that there was an "axis of collusion" between Fianna Fail and "Anglo bankers" is reminiscent of old-school political point- scoring that is more commonly associated with the Bertie Ahern era.

It doesn't matter that Kenny is right that Fianna Fail was too close to the bankers and the developers. His comments would be fine if he was still a backbencher.

At the same time, it is not unusal for an Opposition leader or politician to brief interested parties. And that's what emerges in these emails.

But Mr Kenny is now the Taoiseach. He is our leader and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that Ireland has a real banking inquiry that gets to the bottom of what actually happened.

Kenny's own attitude in ignoring the Sunday Independent's detailed questions is just the sort of thing he would have – and has – leapt up and down about in the past when Fianna Fail figures stonewalled similar questions about who knew what and when about Irish banking.

It also contradicts Justice Minister Alan Shatter's call for Fianna Fail former cabinet ministers to reveal what information they have regarding negotiations between the government and Anglo in 2008.

"There's nothing to stop them from publicly telling us today what engagements they had of a direct nature with executives in Anglo Irish," said Mr Shatter earlier this month, adding: "Let them tell us what they know."

Presumably Mr Shatter will rush today to make a statement demanding that 'Enda K' do likewise.

Or maybe not.

An analysis of Matt Moran's email to Anglo CEO David Drumm about what he claims 'Enda K' says appears to show the then leader of the opposition willing to provide information on what was going on in the corridors of Leinster House.

The optics of such conversations, as claimed by Moran, are – given what we now know – not good for 'Enda K'.

In 'Enda K's' defence, he was probably too inconsequential to pass on anything other than the odd juicy tidbit to Anglo.

The Taoiseach could easily clear things up by delivering a more detailed statement that details all of the interactions he had with the bank that has cost us €30bn.

For the hundreds of thousands of people forced to emigrate or go on the dole lines, it simply isn't good enough to brush it all off with a bland statement.

The 'Bev' emails are even more illuminating.

Here, Beverley Flynn, who was controversial in her own right as a banker with National Irish Bank, is being given, on November 5, 2008, information by Anglo that Moran claims is "actual but not yet released to the market".

The fact that the financial projections about Anglo provided by Moran turned out to be total fantasy makes the matter less serious.

'Bev' did not know that at the time. But it is extraordinary that she had this information at all.

In the next email, on November 17, Moran claims he has "traded messages with Beverley". He then states that she is having "discussions with Lenihan".

If so, what were these conversations about? 'Bev' did not return calls for comment.

On November 18, there is another email to Cooper Flynn's Oireachtas email.

"I just wanted to reiterate that David . . . and I . . . would welcome any possible opportunity to meet with the minister. Clearly we will clear our diaries for whenever would be convenient for him. Really grateful for you trying to get this access. Look forward to talking later . . . Matt."

This appears to be evidence of a Fianna Fail politician lobbying on Anglo Irish Bank's behalf prior to its nationalisation.

It begs the obvious question: did she? And how many of our TDs were doing the same thing on behalf of the banks?

Irish Independent

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